Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Pioneer 1847 Companies

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Mormon Emigrants: 1848-1868 - Y.X. Company

There is one more dimension to the Mormon Trail which, while it pertains little to immigration, deserves mention in this study. This is the short-lived Brigham Young Express and Carrying Company (popularly known as the Y.X. Company) of 1856-1857. It has a place in this study because the route of the company generally was the Mormon Trail of 1847.

In 1856 the Mormon Church bid for and received a four-year contract for monthly mail service between Independence, Missouri, and Salt Lake City. Wagons, animals, feed, stations, and men were quickly lined up, and mail service commenced February 8, 1857. Soon the church was preparing to carry freight as well. The first permanent stations or settlements were set up at Genoa, about 100 miles west of Omaha, and on Deer Creek (just west of Deer Creek in what is now Glenrock, Wyoming). Other stations were begun at the Horseshoe Creek stage station (2 miles due south of what is now Glendo, Wyoming,at La Bonte Creek (10 miles south of Douglas, Wyoming), Devil's Gate (near the Gate, just south of the Sweetwater River and abandoned Wyoming Highway 220), and at Rocky Ridge (a very remote and difficult place to visit today). The Mormons also made use of other existing stations at Fort Laramie, Sweet Water (known today as Burnt Ranch, just south of the Sweetwater River, and Fort Bridger. The proposed sites at Horseshoe Creek, La Bonte Creek, Deer Creek, Devil's Gate, and Sweetwater River were surveyed into 640-acre or one square-mile rectangles--160 rods by 640 rods, or 2 miles by 1/2-mile sections.

The main objective was eventually to have stations every 50 miles--the daily distance attainable by mule teams. Such stations would also be aids to Mormon emigrants by stocking and providing grain and other basic supplies, where hay and other crops could be raised. Then suddenly the contract was canceled because of the political influence of rival mail contractors and all the Mormon mail and freight stations were closed for good.

Source: Historic Resource Study - Mormon Pioneer National By Stanley B. Kimball, Ph.D., May 1991. (The study focuses on the history of the trail from its official beginning in Nauvoo, Illinois, to its terminus in Salt Lake City, Utah, during the period 1846-1869. During that time, thousands of Mormon emigrants used many trails and trail variants to reach Utah. This study emphasizes the "Pioneer Route" or "Brigham Young Route" of 1846-1847. The sections on Mormon beliefs and motivations for going west have been omitted. Interested persons can find ample sources for that information. The footnotes, bibliography, maps, pictures, pioneer companies by name and dates for the 22-year period, and historic sites - about 2/3 of the book - have also been left out for space considerations. Thanks to Dr. Kimball and the National Park Service for the availability of this information.)